Offensively we are always trying to keep things as simple as possible for our players. This holds true in the creation of our playbook but also our formation system. We want to be able to get into as many formations as possible while limiting the amount of learning for the team. We found the easiest way to do this is through our number formation system.
Offense Numbering System | Player Friendly System
The majority of offenses, especially ours, rely on moving one person around to change the formation. In the Spread to Run system this is normally the H-Back because this player normally has a very diverse skill set. We decided that instead of creating a different named formation for everyplace we want to put the H-Back, we would just tell him where to line up through our number system. The rest of the offense would base out of our four formations. This means that the majority of the team only needs to learn four formations but we are able to get into over 80 formations just by moving our H Back through our number system.
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Deciding on the base formations is something that takes time. We outlined all of the possible changes and the easiest way to get into our different formations and came up with our base four. Our four base formations are Doubles (we add Trips because all of our kids know it), Slot, Trio and Empty. We have found that if we base out of these four formations we are able to stress the defense by moving our H around.
Once we picked our base formations we went through and assigned each relative position in the formation a number. We go from left to right but I know some teams work inside out, with even numbers right and odd numbers left. Both work well, it’s just a matter of how your kids think and how your brain works.
We also assign a name to each number position which fits into our motion series, which we will talk about in a separate article. 1/9 are Wide and we tell the player that he is the widest player on the field. 2/8 are Slots. Here we tell him that he will split the difference between the widest receiver and the outside leg of the tackle. 3/7 are Wings. For the Wing position we want the player to line up directly behind the Tackle. We believe this presents the most problems for the defense because he can release into the pass game, he has leverage for a kickout block, and he can also get back in on inside runs like counters. 4/6 are Guard positions. These are occasionally called the Sniffer and are when we want to ensure that our H Back has inside leverage on the end. The last position, 5 is in the backfield. Here he will line up based on the need for the play which can vary.
While the Number System seems like it can be difficult to master, once the front end work is done there is zero learning for the rest of the season. Formations are a simple way to stress the defense and create deception. The Number System is a great, simple, way to create multiple formations without much learning for your players.